Why Choose a Food Market?
Yongnian Road, an old road in Shanghai. Yongnian Food Market, an old food market in Shanghai. The road and the food market, which are located in multiple neighborhoods, have forty years of history. People here have become accustomed to them. As time changes, the road needs demolition and the food market over the road also needs upgrading. We believe that one thing never changes regardless of demolition or transformation, Luwan or Huangpu, enlarging urban space or moving populations, that is, better city better life starts from Expo 2010 will never end. It is also the exact reason why Roarc Renew takes this case, better city better life. We always believe that it is not only a simple yet grand slogan for Expo 2010, but also a reflection of all aspects of sustainably renewable Shanghai in post-Expo era. Since its founding in 2016, Roarc Renew has finished a series of projects, from transformation of an old rivet plant MIXPACE to upgrading historical buildings of Carlowitz & Co. by the Bund and renewal of commercial space at Parkside (today’s Joy City), we had built a better understanding of city renewal. We are eager to have a chance to join in more social livelihood projects and implement our ideas about “weak design”, accumulating more experience of various sorts in the aspect of city renewal.
Transformation Ideas about Yongnian Food Market
Transformation of a food market is actually a very simple thing. To put it in an emotional way:
People living in nearby alleys.
Direction varies, but target stays same.
To have a diverse and better life.
Life and liveliness in the alley continue.
Yongnian Food Market remembers them all.
Feelings are something should be constrained. A small food market can be a part of the renowned painting, like Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival, which expresses memories, feelings, history and humanity. However, for Roarc Renew, we like it to be simple when needed, food market should be a simple place. No room for sensational here. Feelings are excessively consumed in this age. We are frequently made overexcited and simplicity is a rarity now.
What Else can a Food Market be?
This is normally how a design starts. All designers think about it. For the food market of Casa Lakeville several blocks away, the answer is simple. It will be definitely a good choice to integrate a modern community with a food market. However, Yongnian Food Market does not boast natural advantage in geological conditions. Since its birth, it has been playing the essential role to provide necessities for surrounding 20,000 households. It needs not to be fashionable to pander to the aesthetics of this age. In actual practice of transformation, the ideal of “multi-functional complex with Internet thinking” was never coming to mind as priorities was always about rent, budget and utility.
So, Yongnian Food Market is Simply a Food Market
This aging food market mostly serves for those regular residents coming to buy foods. We don’t want to mine some features of online sensation from this place with design aesthetics of this age, as we know that it need only to be a better place for buying food. Therefore, we need to focus on problems existing in this place, e.g. unclean shopping environment, disorderly stalls, dim lighting system, obscure roadmap, wrecked and disorderly posters in and out of the market, as well as defective floor drains, ceiling, waterproofing system, equipment, anti-theft system and firefighting system. In addition to solutions for all these problems, we can then make this place a little bit more comfortable. This is always what Roarc Renew do in city renewal: to give a logically closed solution specific to certain problem. Hence, cleanness, sanitation, pleasing and cost really make sense in design and are the key words of this design logic. According to a field survey, 90% people coming here are surrounding residents above 50. Young people between 10 and 30 barely go to the aging Yongnian Food Market. It drew our attention. We expect to attract more young people and make the market a good choice for both young and old people in their spare time.
Countryside in the City
A food market in conventional sense should never become a modern fresh food supermarket after renewal. It is one of a few places where modern city dwellers can get close to nature directly, so it is expected to be something like a countryside part in a city. A modern fresh food supermarket never focus on this, and Roarc Renew intends to create a space to express the essence. There are four design points for prudent transformation, i.e. exterior signage, interior signage, entrance and main spatial materials, and a design theme of countryside in city.
The word “prudent” shows our awe to livelihood projects. We pursue exquisite life in the design, but we should avoid over-designing, which might scare residents or give people an inexplicable sense of distance. The ecology of livelihood project is rather fragile. We need to protect the “ecology and relationship” while doing the basics right in transformation project.
We present a quality of countryside in design of exterior signage. Corrugated asbestos boards are used as a background texture of the exterior signage. They are widely used as roofing materials of rural houses. The corrugated asbestos boards create an effect of place allusion. Then the impression of countryside in city can be found in alleys of Shanghai.
Flow is a key part in this design. We stick to the principle of fewer corners, more direct flow and clear view. We also leave some spaces for elderly-oriented design, e.g. protective rails and easy slope at the entrance. We also considered convenience for freight flow and garbage cleaning.
Interior Signage - Joints
We solve the problem of cumbersome interior signage with joints. Gypsum board suspension is the commonly used practice, which is wasting and makes the space cumbersome. Joints are mature node products of us. They make the space graceful and orderly, the signage is dismountable and replaceable and the lighting is more organized. A lightweight feeling of tent is used for each stall. Linen, as a main fabric, reflects a natural texture and conveys the quality of natural countryside to the space. An artistic solution is the essence of the whole design. Joints signage is excellent in building properties. The steel wires can be handled easily and the replaceable linen are all designed specific to the special environment of the food market.
We refer to the landscape façade of gabion and attempt to create a special sense at the entrance. More organic pine cones, ears, pines and cobbles, instead of stones, are used to create a sense of layering. And organic materials will always be the ones bringing people close in the atmosphere. The fragrance of dry pines in the gabion brings a special sense in smell. Together with visual experience and fruit shops arranged at the entrance, it created a real countryside feeling in the city.
We take cost and future operation into account when determining main materials in the place. White quadrels turn out to be the sole façade material accepted by the employer for its self-cleanness and cost-effective nature. But we can still make some design on brickwork joints by turning the original dark gray joints to orange ones, which light up the space suddenly while not affecting the cleanness and brightness of the place as a whole.